The current situation we have all found ourselves in has meant that life feels strange and the future is uncertain. For our pets, however, life is better than ever with the constant company and extra-long or more frequent walks.
When life returns to ‘normal’ you may see their behavior alters slightly, as they become unsure as to why life has suddenly changed once again. The key here is recognizing the signs of anxiety in dogs due to pandemic and understanding how to help. To give you a helping hand here’s our handy tips.
Recognizing anxiety in your dog
Just like humans, there are tell-tale signs that your dog has anxiety or is struggling with life after lockdown. You may notice changes in behavior or more subtle signals such as licking and biting themselves, or an increased heart rate.
Changes in behavior should be simple to spot if you know your dog well enough. Aggression, howling, constant barking, and pacing are all common signs that your dog has something on their mind and might indicate anxiety in dogs due to pandemic.
In some cases, dogs may also begin chewing furniture and urinating uncontrollably, if this is the case then rather than meet the action with aggression, try to remain calm and think about the reasons behind this action.
There are several reasons your dog may feel stressed or anxious and the reasons are not always easy to identify. Therefore, it is a process of elimination. The best way to identify the reasons for stress or anxiety in your dog is to observe your dog and work out when the behavior occurs.
A few ways to observe your pet are highlighted below:
- Monitor your dog’s behavior when you are out of the room/house with a camera. This will help you to understand if they are missing you and need companionship.
- When restrictions have eased, invite people to your home and monitor their reaction to people entering their space.
- Position yourself out of sight from your dog to see if there is a change in behavior, or whether they follow you.
Knowing how to approach a dog with symptoms of anxiety can be challenging, which is why it is important to educate yourself on the subject. There are many useful resources available, including this infographic from Lords and Labradors that provides useful advise. We have provided you with some tips on how to help your dog cope below.
Tips to help your dog cope with anxiety
All of the above will help you to identify the symptoms and reasons behind your dog’s change in behavior but doesn’t necessarily help you overcome it. Here are five things you can do to help make your dog’s life a little easier.
Keep the mind busy
If the reason for your dog’s behavior is due to anxiety or stress as a result of being separated from you and the family, then it’s important to keep their minds busy when you’re not home. You can try hiding treats around the room and playing a hide and seek style game, or even ensuring they have a new toy once a week.
Provide their own space
Just like humans, dogs need their own space where they feel safe and content. Space should be filled with their possessions and a comfortable bed that they can relax and sleep on. Many people choose a dog bed, cage, or doghouse. If you do opt for the cage then the door doesn’t have to be locked as it is just a space especially for them.
Exercise, exercise, exercise
When you are at home be sure to play with your dog and take them for a good walk. Lengths of walks can vary depending on a dog’s breed, so research this before heading out. Don’t limit walks either, try a walk in the morning, at lunch if possible, and of an evening. Multiple walks a day will keep your dog fit, healthy and happy, as well as tiring them out for when you are out of the house.
We are sure there are plenty of other tips on how to cope with anxiety in dogs and we would just love to hear them! Feel free to drop us a message or leave a comment with more handy advise.